CAN WE CAPTURE ENOUGH CARBON IN ORDER TO SAVE THE PLANET?
Can we capture enough CARBON in order to save the planet?
Here’s an update on capturing carbon in order to mitigate climate change consequences.
Much of the following information is based on the fascinating article by Jeff Johnson for C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News) February 25th 2019 titled Capturing Carbon: Can it save us? “We have technologies to remove greenhouse gases from air, but its unclear that we can scale them fast enough to make a difference,” wrote Johnson.
Most of us are familiar with the facts about the catastrophe that is about to unfold as the climate changes. Without intervention. We can expect a temperature rise of 1.5° Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) by 2030 and 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) by 2050 and then temperature will continue to rise. [Sources: Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC), Fall 2018 and NY Times, October 7, 2018]
According to the NY Times even a half degree Celsius (.9° Fahrenheit) would “expose tons of millions more people worldwide to life threatening heat waves, water shortage, and coastal flooding. Half a degree may mean the difference between a world with coral reefs and Arctic summer sea ice, and a world without them.”
The upcoming temperature increases will cause catastrophic effects: record breaking sea-level rise, flooding, wildlife, extreme weather events, famine, and wildlife habitat destruction, according to the IPCC. The world’s poor will be hit hard. For a related story check out the March 3rd Sixty Minutes story about a group of teens who are suing the Federal Government to stop using fossil fuels. (https://www.cbs.com/shows/60_minutes/video/EhISyXxhArsyFAsEmIXYXd4BowE4Cpnl/the-climate-change-lawsuit-that-could-stop-the-u-s-government-from-supporting-fossil-fuels/)
Are there innovative ways to capture carbon and begin to reverse the effects of Climate Change? These are called “Negative Emission Technologies” or NETs. NETs extract Carbon dioxide or other gasses from the air, change land-use practices to plant more carbon sequestering trees and plants, and aggressively use natural systems to remove Carbon Dioxide from the environment. NETs do not release us from the obligation of reducing emissions, but they will help us reach net zero emissions by 2050, the timeline that the UN Environment program says is necessary to keep temperature rise below 2° (the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change).
What are some of the cool NETs now in early testing phases?
Extracting CO₂ from the air
Burning New Fuels that release low to no CO₂
Making Rocks that’s encapsulate CO₂
Buying Carbon emissions Underground
Growing plants that take in more CO₂ and breathe out more Oxygen.
To read the C&EN article in its entirety click here https://cen.acs.org/environment/greenhouse-gases/Capturing-carbon-save-us/97/i8
On a related topic, the Boston Society of Architects will be holding a full day conference on embodied Carbon in Buildings, May 31st 2019. 8am to 7pm, in Cambridge. For more details, click here https://www.architects.org/programs-and-events/embodied-carbon-buildings
Alert: If eleven years to 2030 does not scare us into action, what will? Don’t let the size of the problem overwhelm you. Every little bit helps.
If you are interested in pursuing a project that reduces your personal emissions, call or email us, or you can click on the contact button on our website https://lesliesaul.com/contactus.html